Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Lovin', Had Me a Blast

Of course I've missed any blog updates over the summer so now I am stuck with a almost a whole summer's worth of activities to catch up on.  Story of my blog life.  This summer has definitely been PACKED.  Between camping, vacation and activities, we have also been working our hind parts off to get the barn done.  It has been a labor of love, I suppose.  But the barn is coming along and almost done!  Hooray--I can't stand another day out in the 100 degree heat putting up wood and trim and roofing etc.  I'll post some pictures soon once we get the entire thing finished.

A highlight of our summer is that Jessica has put in an awesome swimming pool so we get to go swim almost anytime we want!  Joey has perfected his chicken dive off the board.

 Tyler went to Timberline camp this summer for scouting.  He totally loved it.  I guess they didn't teach him how to wear hit hat normally though...

The kids have also had a blast playing in grandma's yard.  We have a definite lack of grass at my house so water and sprinklers are not allowed (water + dirt = muddy mess mom doesn't want to clean up).  So every time the kids go to grandma's the head straight outside for water works.
 Water balloons have been a favorite this summer.  They make up water balloon store games where they basically barter for water balloons.  Jacob always seemed to come out ahead.
 And what trip to grandma's house would be complete without popsicles?
 Grandma also took them to a town carnival -- Tyler and Jake went on this spinner ride with some crazy name I don't remember.  They went on it several times and you can tell they thought they were pretty cool...
 Joey liked the giant slide.  He told me we should put one in our backyard....
 In other news we have had a new addition to the family!  It's a boy!  We are thinking of naming him Scout but we probably have to give him back to the mom's owner so we aren't getting too attached.
 A few weeks ago we found a HUGE snake in the road.  It looked like a rattlesnake without the rattle.  It was right in front of my neighbors house.  We hurried and got her and we decided that we should probably kill it since it looked poisonous.  My neighbor went and got a shovel type thing and we gave Tyler the assignment to get it.  He failed.  So then it was Jake's turn.  He failed.  My neighbor was too petrified of snakes so then it fell to me.  At this point it was hissing at us so I took aim, and (while screaming mind you) jabbed it until it died.  Later I found out it was a just a gopher snake, which is a good snake and I felt really bad.  I really did--we only killed it because there are kids and animals around and we thought it was dangerous.  Well I regret it and will never kill snake again unless I am in immediate danger.  Poor snake.

 We've gone on a couple camping trips this summer.  Our first big trip was up in the mountains--around 11,000 ft elevation.  It was nice and cool up there.  We went with some friends who had dirt bikes.  One of the moms decided to teach Tyler to ride so she took him to a field near our campsite.  It looked like the perfect place to cruise around and learn to ride.  Well she was watching tyler ride and go up a tiny little hill (like 2 feet high) and then next thing she knows is he drops and disappears!  A second later he pops up, drenched and dripping, saying "I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!" Turns out there was a pond in that meadow that you couldn't see at all until you stood on that little hill right at the edge of it.  There would have been no time to stop at all.  The bike was completely submerged--we had to bring the 4-wheeler up and Tyler had to get back in the water to attach a rope to the handlebars of the bike (which were about a foot under the water).  Tyler felt so bad, he kept telling them how sorry he was and that he'd buy them a new bike.  But there was no way he could have seen the water in time to stop.  In the end they got the bike running again and Tyler got dried off.  It was pretty funny since it all ended well.  Here's Ty drenched with the infamous bike... (that is not the pond he fell in--this one is way too obvious)
 That camping trip was filled with dirt bikes, four wheelers and ranger rides....Here's Maggie and her pal Paisley...
 Joey snuggled between our good friends Whitney and Porter in the back of the Ranger...
 And me and Tyler getting windblown in the front....
 Tyler and Joey....  no water mishaps here.
 There was a little stream by our campsite.  The kids loved to play in it.   Joey made boats from leaves and raced them.

 Then on to the 4th of July.  Carrie and her girls, Samantha and Kate, came down to visit.  It was so much fun.  We packed a lot into a few days.  Fourth of July fireworks at Grandma's house...

 Jake and Joey look so much alike.  I think they look like the same kids just a few years apart in this picture.
 Maggie was LOVING having her girl cousins around.  She was the "big sister" for a few days.
 The girls!

 While Carrie was here was also went up the canyon and had a picnic and Ranger rides.  Eric taught the girls to steer the ranger.  It was pretty cool!

 Even Joey got in on the action.
 Silly girls going a ride!
 And of course more swimming.  My kids would live in the water if they could.
 Snow cones with cousins--doesn't get much better than this!  Blue and red tongues galore.

 Our next trip was just Eric and me.  We went to Boston for a dental conference.  I really love Boston.  It is such a neat town.  We visited Fenway park, did the Freedom Trail and one day Eric and I went up to Cape Elizabeth in Maine for a lobster lunch and some lighthouse looking...
 We ate at the Lobster Shack at Cape Elizabeth.  It is literally right on the ocean and next to 3 lighthouses.  Right after we ordered our lobsters the girl took them out of the bin and put them in the pot.  Thats' fresh!
 One of the nights in Boston Eric and I went to a restaurant called Atlantic Fish Co.  Turns out the night we were there they had a special.  They only do it once a week and the chef only makes 20.  Called Lobster Thermidor.  So Eric thought he'd better get one.  It was delicious!  Once of the best meals I have ever had!  Tell me this doesn't make your mouth water...
 Back home in Utah, now it's time for the Rodeo!  We went on Tyler's birthday (ack, he's a teenager now!  13) and had a blast of course.  It is the  Swenson Family tradition to hit the Rodeo each year.  It is always fun.  Get some funnel cake, cokes, and nachos, we are all set!  Yee haw!
 Hillary and Josh came into town as well.  They came to the rodeo with us and we all went out for lunch that day as well...
 We wanted to make sure we put Hillary and Josh to work so we decided to go bale some hay.  Okay, we actually didn't plan for it to be while they were here but it just worked out that way.  We got up early in the morning and went out for our first hay to put in our new barn!  237 bales that morning.  Boy those things are heavy!  And scratchy!  It was my first taste of many hay hauling days ahead.

 It was so wonderful to have so many family and friends to come and help.  Many hands makes light work.  We finished early and celebrated with donuts and chocolate milk!  What a great bunch of people.  We feel lucky to live here by family and friends and good people.

 The last load....
 I look like a pro!  Not really....  My fingers were sore!
 Of course after all that fun we needed to have more fun.  So we took ANOTHER camping trip up in Wyoming with some different friends.  We brought the horses up and wouldn't you know it we got a flat tire on the way up.  Between Eric and I we got it changed pretty quick but we did have to stop and get a new one in the next town for safety's sake.
 But the tire pit stop wasn't too bad.  We all got to stretch our legs and say hi to the horses.
 The highlight of the trip for the boys (Josh, Tyler and Jake) was their fresh catch of the day...squirrel.  They shot one and turns out a few minutes later Ziggy caught and killed another one.  So they decided, of course, that they should cook and eat them.  (barfing sounds)
 Josh was not afraid to get his hands dirty.  Now that I think about it, the whole eating the squirrel thing was his idea....hmmmmm.   Pulled squirrel sandwich anyone?  So Josh took charge of gutting and skinning it.
 Everyone was both fascinated and disgusted at the same time.

 The skinning wasn't going well since the squirrel was so they decided to just skin the legs and eat those.  And...they....did.  I made them cook it thoroughly over the fire first!  They said it was chewy.  I'll just take their word for it.
The horses were fun.  We took several small horse rides with the little kids, then the older guys went on a longer one.  Joey had a lot of fun riding Penny.

 Tyler, Josh and Eric decided to try fly fishing on one of the days.  I tried to get out to the river to get a picture but the willows were so thick I couldn't get close.  This is the best I could do.  Fishing wasn't great but Tyler was glad to have the practice.
 Kids telling stories around the campfire...
 Here we are with some of the horses.  They were hungry and LOVED the grass at our campsite.
 Stella and Joey getting a mini-ride.
 Maggie loved being "big sister" once again this summer--this time with Stella!
 As I mentioned at the beginning, swimming at Jessica's has been a highlight of our summer--and cousins just make it more fun!

Not to let a day go by without having something fun planned, we took a girl's night up in Salt Lake City. Jessica, Hillary, Katie and I stayed at the Grand America Hotel.  We ate out, had yummy sushi and desserts, went shopping, ate more dessert, played some cards and had a great time.  
 The night after our girls' night we took the kids to the drive in movie.  It is always a fun time.  Treats movies and cousins.
 And then the day after that was Eric's Lee Family reunion.  Just to top off the summer Jake decided to fall off his hoverboard and break his collarbone.  Sheesh.  Right before the reunion.  He does get the award for first person in our family to break a bone.  Poor kid.  His summer pretty much ended right there.  No more swimming, soccer, trampoline or hoverboard for 6 weeks...  He took it like a trooper though, had to watch everyone have fun while he just sat there.  No fun for Jake.
 Everyone showed him extra love and support!
 At the reunion we also had big blow up bubble balls.  They were hilarious.  Maggie decided to just topple herself over and over.  The funniest were the guys when they got it.  Some pretty big crashes!

The best and worst part of the summer was Tyler birthday--best for him because now he is a teenager, worst for me he is a teenager.  The big 13.  Makes me feel old now to say I have a teenager, but Tyler is worth it.  He is really a good kid.  He has his moments, like we all do, but Tyler is such a kind and sensitive boy.  He is always looking out for his friends to make sure everyone feel included.  I am always having his church leaders, scout leaders and teachers tell me what a nice boy he is.  He is easygoing about things and loves all the things his dad loves--horses, fishing, camping and hunting.  He is getting to play a pretty mean electric guitar as well.  We love having him in our family and wish him the best (and least moody) teenage years!